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There's a new robot in town!

At Burley High School students get to test-drive a surgery robot thanks to Cassia Regional Hospital
Posted at 4:46 PM, Dec 04, 2023

BURLEY, Idaho — A surgery robot is a big step up in the quality of care available at Cassia Regional Hospital. There's been a lot of interest in the new device around town, so administrators took a demo robot to Burley High School to give students a hands-on look.

  • High school students got to learn about the merging of medicine and technology by driving the robot, and controlling its telescoping arms, articulating "wrists" and clamps to pick up tiny silicone rings and dropping them onto pegs. They also used the microscope to inspect details on pennies and folding money.
  • Cassia Regional Hospital received their surgery robot in June, and consider it a big step toward providing state-of-the-art care, while also helping to recruit doctors.
  • The demo surgery robot will also be on public display in the lobby of Cassia Regional Hospital on Tuesday, Dec 5.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Burley high school students... Playing surgeon.

Angel: "This definitely feels futuristic though. This feels like this shouldn't have been invented for, like, another 10 years."

This hands-on exercise allows these teens to take control of the state-of-the-art DiVinci surgical robot. Using advanced controls to articulate the robotic arms. Picking up rings and placing them on posts.

They used microscopes to inspect details on pennies and a $5 bill.

Angel: "It's like playing a VR game except things actually happen, and you can sort of, it feels like you are the robot. … there's pressure, there's distance, you have depth perception, you can see everything, you can even take things up close to your face and see, like, the minutest details."

Tate: "There's just, like, the controllers that are pretty unique. Its just got the two little triggers on it, that you can control it, its really unique that you can actually do wrist movements in it. It's just pretty advanced and pretty cool."

While ring-toss challenges are impressive, representatives from Cassia Regional Hospital were on hand to help students understand the robot's practical uses.

Dr. Jason Parkinson uses the new surgery robot. He said the articulating wrists on the robotic arms let them reach around corners and work in tight spots, resulting in a better level of care.

Dr Jason: "Which may avoid us having to do a major open procedure, which shortens the hospital stay for patients. It allows them to be able go home quicker and usually with a lot less pain and discomfort and recover a lot faster than they would be able to otherwise."

Cassia Regional has had its surgery robot since June, something Michael Blauer said is a big step toward providing state-of-the-art care at the hospital.

Michael: "It has sparked some curiosity and interest, and we wanted to give the community the opportunity to take a look at it, see what it does. We thought it would be really fun to host it at the school for the students to get a sense of medicine and technology and how they come together."

Sounding a lot like science fiction, students came away with new horizons when it comes to robots.

Angel: "They're definitely the way to the future, but I don't think they're going to take over the world."